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Brake rotors - replacement options

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It appears to be time to replace the brakes. The car (base '01 986) has 84,000 miles now. The brake wear idiot light came on briefly on a post Christmas drive. I haven't tracked the car - yet. I do auto-x several times a year and regularly enjoy spirited driving on twisty roads. I haven't mic'd the rotors yet, but suspect that they will need replacement along with pads. I'm curious to know what y'all have experienced with the options - stock, cross-drilled, dimpled, cry treated, slotted, cross-drilled and slotted .... there are so many options. I do hope to track the car in the next year or so. I want a set-up that will give me good performance on the street/auto-x and decent performance on the track. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd get the GT3 brake ducts for $30 if you hadn't have them on the car already. Gives much needed cooling which is essential for effective braking.

Stock brakes are very good already but a lot of people recommend swapping out the pads for race pads if that's what you'll be doing. Porsche sells factory sport pads which is a good compromise for light track/street but they only fit the S brakes. Don't get cross-drilled. Slotted is great for track but will accelerate pad wear. I'd suggest just stick with stock rotors unless you're planning to do a S caliper conversion then you're open with more option such as the PFC 2-piece dimpled rotors.

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I just installed cross-drilled rotors and EBC Redstuff pads on all four wheels along with the GT-3 brake ducts ($40 from eBay).

I figured that the S-models come stock with cross drilled rotors so they can't be all bad. The Redstuff pads are "supposed" to be good for street and light track use.

Installation of the GT-3 brake ducts (wow, they are a LOT bigger than the stock Boxster ducts) was a snap (literally, there are only two plastic snaps) and I was done in less than 10 mins.

I'll post back in a few hundered miles to let you know how this setup is working once the pads are broken in. I have a DE planned for March 5th at the Streets of Willow and will also let you know how this setup works for occasional track use (DE only not racing).

Edited by thstone
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If you're pushing the car at all, you'll completely fry the Redstuff. Yellowstuff is a bit better, but if you're really flying at 100%, you'll end up cooking them as well. Yellowstuff is better than Redstuff, but if you're not at least in an advanced group, you probably won't notice.

The brake ducts are an important upgrade to keep things cool. The extra airflow seems to make a difference. Excellent choice to put them on there.

Cross-drilled rotors are pointless nowadays. In the days of pads that released gasses, it was a good idea. Now it just reduces the braking surface area and the holes get clogged up with brake pad material.

If you have 17" wheels (or larger), the best thing you can do for your braking system is put Carrera brakes on the front. They're the same as the Boxster S brakes, but the calipers are black. Then, put something like GS610 or some other 600 degree fluid in. Then, depending on your level of commitment, a good set of racing pads. I'm currently using PFC 06 pads on the front and stock on the rear. I've run Hawk Blue, PFC 97, PFC 01, Pagid Yellow, Pagid Orange, and Hawk HP+. The PFC 06 pads on the Carrera rotors/calipers is the best combination I've found so far, and I think I've stopped looking.

Before any of your smarty-pants say something about the Carrera brakes being cross-drilled, I know. I've been looking for a solid disk, but haven't been able to find any. Once I do, I'm switching and will get even better braking.

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Brake needs vary a lot depending on how you drive the car. I posted this recently over on 986forum:

If you do a lot of track days you will surely run into brake issues at some point. Smoked pads, pad fade, boiled brake fluid, gummed rotors, warped rotors, bias issues, etc. Over the years I have gone through the trial and error process: run stock Porsche pads, Mintex, Pagid Orange, Pagid Black, Pagid Yellow RS19, Raybestos ST-43, Porsche rotors, Balo rotors, Zimmerman rotors, Porsche Fluid, ATE fluid, Motul fluid.

My current favorite setup:

Plain Jane Zimmerman rotors $80ea

Raybestos ST-43 Pads $250/set

Motul 600 brake fluid $16/pt

Porsche 997GT3 brake ducts $20/set

This is not a scientific study in any way, just the only setup that has never let me down. I change fluid twice a year and change pads when pad material approaches the metal backing thickness. I have explored different bias setups and just prefer using the same pad compound on all four corners. The ST-43 pads are a fully competition pad that last forever with no heat issues ever. They are a little intense for street use and will easily overpower a set of front 205 street tires, quickly invoking ABS. They also squeal a bit around town when cold. With a set of comp tires running deep into braking zones on a hot day (95F) they are flawless.

Edited by Topless
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  • 8 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

One of the best mods I've done to my '99 Boxster is to upgrade the stock Brembo's (Black) to the Big Red Boxster S setup. There are no clearance issues with 17" wheels and the extra surface area on the rotors with larger calipers has been the difference, on the track, between really having to lay into the brakes in hard cornering and just having to tap the brakes to slow down. The rotors are crossed and slotted and you will run the risk of cracks and brake dust buildup but the difference in stopping ability for track, AX and street is dramatic. I run OEM brake pads, a high temp brake fluid (change before each race) and have installed the GT3 ducts ($6.50 ea. at Sonnen Porsche). It's an expensive procedure as the rear knuckles have to be changed to the S to accommodate the emergency brake cables but you can save money by picking up a good used set from a wrecking yard instead of new. An alternative would be to change the fronts out first (pretty much a direct swap) as the larger surface area is more of a benefit in the front and paint your rear calipers red to match.

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